Policy ForumConservation

Ecosystem Services for 2020

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Science  15 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6002, pp. 323-324
DOI: 10.1126/science.1196431

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The vast majority of nations have fallen far short of the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD's) 2010 target: to reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity (1, 2). This prompted the CBD to develop a new plan of action, supported by 20 “SMART” (specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic, and time-bound) targets for 2020 (3, 4). As the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the CBD meets in Nagoya, Japan, to negotiate both plan and targets, it is critical that targets also be grounded in the real interests that people have in benefits provided by biodiversity. To evaluate targets on this basis, we use the ecosystem services framework developed by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) (5). This framework balances resource conservation and use according to how societies value consumptive (e.g., food and fuel) and nonconsumptive (e.g., health and aesthetics) services provided by ecosystems.